NBL Division One Preview - Week 4 (19/20 October 2019)

As D1M approaches its 4th week, the table is beginning to take shape and suggest where some teams stack up against each other in the early going. We've got seven fixtures across the upcoming weekend, here's how the schedule looks.

Game of the Week 

Derby Trailblazers (2-1) v Hemel Storm (3-0)

Hemel take their unbeaten record on the road tomorrow to face a team who were also undefeated until a week ago.

Derby's 81 - 77 loss to Worthing will no doubt have disappointed head coach Matt Shaw who'll have his side eager to bounce back at the first time of asking. One positive from the defeat was a 20 point haul for new signing Johde Campbell, suggesting the American is already fitting in well to the Trailblazers' roster and ready to make a further impact this weekend. That will be good news for Malcolm Smith, Oliver Stanley and Sergio Gomez, who have largely shouldered the offensive load so far.

Hemel moved to 3-0 last weekend thanks a 118 - 94 win over Westminster, with eventual D1M Player of the Week winner Lee Hodges going 10/10 from the floor in a double-double performance. Whilst Derby can key in on slowing the 7'0" Hodges, Hemel can still turn to Sam Newman (averaging 11 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists per game), Michael Williams (25 points last week against Westminster), and American forward Greg Poleon (13.5ppg, 12rpg) to cause the Trailblazers problems.

2018/19 result – Derby Trailblazers 92 - 98 Hemel Storm

Elsewhere in D1M 

The only other unbeaten side in the division, Team Solent Kestrels (3-0) host Leicester Warriors (2-1). After beating local rivals Nottingham Hoods last weekend, Leicester's American T.J. Henderson now leads the league with 27.3ppg. Can that production continue against Solent? The Warriors will hope so.

Another player enjoying a hot start to the season is Thames Valley guard Taylor Johnson. After moving over from Leicester in 18/19, Johnson is averaging 26ppg so far for the Cavs. Coach Banks' side are 2-1 and host Worthing Thunder (2-1) tomorrow.

Not far from Uxbridge, Reading Rockets (2-1) will play host to Nottingham Hoods (0-3) in Sunday's only fixture. The Rockets suffered a surprise loss on opening day to Westminster but have since bounced back with consecutive wins against Thames Valley and Loughborough. A.J Carr missed the loss to the Warriors, but in the two games since has averaged 22.0ppg.

Westminster Warriors (1-2) are the next side up for Essex & Herts Leopards (0-3) as Coach Baker's side look to get into the win column for the first time this year. Despite the Leopards' struggles, 6'7" forward Hafeez Abdul has averaged 20ppg this season since returning to the UK from NCAA DII side Mont. St. Billings.

In Yorkshire, Bradford Dragons (1-2) managed to get their first win last week, they entertain Loughborough Riders (2-1) and exciting young point guard Reis Pinnock. 3 of the last 4 meetings between these sides in D1M have been decided by 6 points or less, suggesting tomorrow's match up could have an exciting finish.

Finally, Liverpool (0-3) have a great chance to grab their first win of the season against a Barking Abbey (1-2) team that have lost both their road games to date this season by an average of 39 points. The Merseyside cub couldn't wish for a better visiting team this weekend based on current form.

Full Fixtures and Live Stats Links 

Saturday 19 October 2019 

5:00pm – Liverpool v Barking Abbey - LIVE STATS
5:30pm – Westminster Warriors v Essex & Herts Leopards - LIVE STATS 
6:00pm – Thames Valley Cavaliers v Worthing Thunder - LIVE STATS
6:00pm – Team Solent Kestrels v Leicester Warriors - LIVE STATS 
6:15pm – Bradford Dragons v Loughborough Riders - LIVE STATS 
7:15pm – Derby Trailblazers v Hemel Storm - LIVE STATS

Sunday 20 October 2019 

5:00pm – Reading Rockets v Nottingham Hoods - LIVE STATS 

Main image credit - Hemel Storm